‘What a story it could have been’ – West Brom’s summer stance over move for England international revealed: The verdict

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This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Championship side West Bromwich Albion were offered the chance by Chelsea to sign Ross Barkley on loan for the 2021/22 season in the latter stages of the transfer window, according to The Telegraph.

The 27-year-old, who has made 33 appearances for the senior England national team, spent last season out on loan in the West Midlands with Aston Villa, recording just four goal contributions in 24 Premier League appearances during his time at Villa Park.

With this and little prospect of breaking back into Chelsea’s first team, he was offered out to second-tier side West Brom in a bid to get him off their wage books for the season, although his £110,000 per week wages proved to be the crucial stumbling block in this potential deal.

26 questions about West Brom’s managers from over the years – Can you score full marks?

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What year did Valerien Ismael become Barnsley manager?

2017

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The Baggies, who have recently been relegated back to the Championship, had already recruited Brighton & Hove Albion man Jayson Molumby on a season-long loan, with Alex Mowatt and current captain Jake Livermore establishing themselves as regular starters at The Hawthorns and manager Valerien Ismael seemingly keen on giving youngster Quevin Castro a chance in the first-team squad.

But with someone of the England international’s calibre being offered to them and the fact they may not have had to pay too much of his wages, considering Danny Drinkwater and Baba Rahman have gone out on temporary spells to embargoed-club Reading. So should the Baggies have taken a chance on his deal?

We asked three of our writers at Football League World whether they thought he would have been a good signing for West Brom – and whether they believed he would’ve been a much-needed addition in the West Midlands.

Marcus Ally

It is mind-blowing to think that Ross Barkley could be playing second-tier football at the age of just 27. When fit he is still capable of pushing for an England call-up and so should still be applying his trade in the Premier League.

Moving to Chelsea has derailed plenty of promising careers, though not bank balances, in recent years and Barkley should look for a new permanent destination if he wants to make up for lost time in his career.

Barkley would have been a ridiculously good player for Championship level and could have taken West Bromwich Albion to a whole new level, it would have been interesting to see how he would fit into Valerien Ismael’s philosophy.

Although, the Frenchman could have ripped up his current plans and built new ones around a player of Barkley’s class.

Billy Mulley

Ross Barkley possesses a lot of talent, but he has been unable to consistently display that for a while.

The prospect of Barkley in the Championship was an exciting one, but I am not too sure where he would fit in at West Brom.

Valerien Ismael is seemingly set with Jake Livermore and Alex Mowatt in the midfield areas, with Jayson Molumby providing some competition.

Barkley has a lot of desirable attributes at second-tier level, with his ability to progress play and create chances, being two attributes that would make him an exciting coup in the Championship, however, it is not an Ismael signing in my eyes.

I would also be surprised if Barkley would accept a move to the Championship. He certainly has the ability to operate in the top tier in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

Chris Thorpe

It would’ve been a fantastic signing, I don’t think anyone could doubt that for a minute.

Barkley’s career has hit a standstill following his loan spell with Aston Villa and I think he would’ve been open to moving to West Brom.

Of course stepping down to the Championship may not have been something he would’ve considered straight away but after seeing how the club is thriving now, perhaps he would’ve given it a lot of thought.

I would say he’s the type of player they need in midfield as he is capable of driving forward and getting goals and assists in equal measure.

Ultimately it wasn’t to be, but what a story it could have been!

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